Tag Archives: update

Badass Japanese Vocabulary T-shirts

Have you enjoyed our Speaking Japanese Like a Badass articles? Well, now you can get the t-shirt! With the upcoming release of the book Shakotan Blue, we’re celebrating by making wearable versions of your favorite Japanese vocabulary words and phrases. Check out the images below and leave a comment to let us know if there’s another dictionary entry you’d like to see on a t-shirt.

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Filed under Educational

Coming Soon…The Book

Kamui Misaki Mikaku037

If you’ve enjoyed the true stories of life in rural Japan featured on this blog, then I have a treat for you. I’ve written a book!

Titled Shakotan Blue, the book will soon be released through Ahmnition. It catalogs the most popular content from this blog–all the humorous anecdotes and helpful insights on Japanese culture–along with some new tales that never made it online.

Shakotan Blue front_cover

Check out ShakotanBlue.com for more details.

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Filed under Educational, Shakotan

Press START to Continue…

As you may have already heard, I’ve really been on the fence about whether or not to renew my contract with the company. I’ve flip-flopped back and forth, unable to fully commit to what my next year with entail. If I renew, I could stay in Japan for another year, and continue teaching English in the über quiet fishing village of Shakotan, living in fairly isolated Bikuni town. If I decline, could come back to Seattle and get started on the next phase of my life, most likely involving going back to school so that I can become a teacher in the US. More pressingly, now that my beloved Marissa is back in the States, I have new motivation to return. I’ve spent many homesick nights dreaming of everything and everyone I miss in Seattle, and now that my girlfriend has returned, the longing has increased exponentially.

Japan is a fantastic place, a Rising Sun Neverland filled intriguing customs and kindhearted people. (Kindhearted, unbelievably generous, genuinely wonderful people, actually.) The friends I’ve made here have become very important to me, and I’ll need to keep in touch with them after I return to the States. In my first year Japan, I’ve been able to accomplish many of my goals for my journey, and I’ve have countless surprising experiences that I didn’t even expect. It’s been one hell of a ride.

But the fact of the matter is, I have not yet done everything that I set out to do. If I were to leave Japan now, I would surely look back on it with a regretful, incomplete feeling. I’d wonder what could have been, if only Shakotan had had one more year with their first ALT; their first ever foreigner resident. After how welcoming and accommodating this community has been to me, I owe it to them to give it my all. When the next school year begins, I can hit the ground running, already well acquainted with the students, the teachers, and the Board of Education, not to mention other individuals in the community. A new ALT would need some time to adjust to this place, but I know it well, and I’m ready to kick some ass…speaking purely academically, of course.

Even though it has been an impossibly difficult decision, one that I’ve lost plenty of sleep over, I have finally made up my mind. The kids need me. Shakotan needs me. My homestay-esque family in Sapporo even kind of needs me. Oh, and the company needs me to a certain extant. Maintaining a sense of purpose in Seattle would probably be a bit difficult for me at the moment, but it’s strong here in Hokkaido. I know what I need to do.

And so, the journey continues…


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It’s on like Donkey Kong!

I’ve got my visa. I’ve bought my ticket. Hotel reservation’s checked. I just worked my last day at Big Fish. Now this trip to Japan is really happening. April 12, 2011 is the day. The final countdown has begun.

As much as I am sure to miss Seattle, I’m not too worried about it because I don’t feel like I’m leaving forever. Sure, I’ll be gone for at least a year, but see Seattle as my home, and I will certainly return. My soccer team, the Rabid Dust Bunnies, will have to play without me for a time, but I’ll be back. (Rabid Forever!)

I was reading an email that Interac (my new employer) sent me regarding flying over to Japan. In one part, it mentioned that every year, there’s somebody who doesn’t reach their destination on schedule due to various reasons, such as “mechanical delays, snow storms, ash clouds and missed connections.” I’m sorry, did you say ash clouds? OK yeah, this is going to be awesome.

If you’re wondering what kind of mindset one has when embarking on a trip to Japan at a time like this, give a listen to my Journey to Japan playlist that I made on Grooveshark. I’ll be listening to this to get psyched up for the trip. Link below:


Now I just need to make final preparations and I’ll be off. Can you dig it?

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Are you still going to Japan?!!

I’ve had a lot people asking me if my plans to go to Japan have changed since the cataclysmic disaster caused by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis. So far, to the dismay of my family, they have not. Interac has told me that my schedule for training in Japan, and my actual placement in Sapporo, will continue as scheduled. So everything shall proceed as planned.

Now, I should clarify that Interac told me that the disaster wouldn’t affect me or my arrival date on March 13th. Since then, the most pressing concern has been the state of the nuclear reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which are in such bad shape that authorities are worried about a meltdown. With every new development, I wonder if the company would at least want to change the plans to hold training in Tokyo.

And in case you weren’t aware, my plan is to go teach English in Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, for at least one year. I’ve already bought my ticket and I’m flying out of Seattle on April 12th (arriving at Tokyo-Narita airport on the 13th). I have about a week of training in Tokyo before shipping up north to Sapporo.
Sapporo is like 300 miles north of the devastation in Fukushima Prefecture, on the northern island of Hokkaido. Still, people have voiced concerns that you shouldn’t fool around when radioactivity is involved, so everyone’s kind of worried. I have yet to receive my work visa from the Japanese Consulate, so we’ll have to see what happens. Can’t teach in Japan without it. Stay tuned more more action.


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